Lee Fields is a bona-fide, 100%, unadulterated, pure, gut-bucket soul singer. While the crate-digging funk and soul community bestowed ‘legendary’ status upon him due to his undeniably solid series of rare 7′ singles (and one LP) recorded and released on his own independent labels in the 70s, he’s never been one to sit in a dusty corner. New York label/production team Truth & Soul, are ready to bring him to light with a brand new album of beat-heavy, deep soul ballads that will show soul-revivalists the world over what real soul is.
After his rediscovery in the mid 90s, his faithful have featured him on a slew on singles, a full-length on Desco Records entitled “Let’s Get It On’, a full-length on Soul Fire entitled “Problems”, and on Sharon Jones’s critically acclaimed album, “Naturally”. Most recently, he has featured on a number of tracks by French house producer, Martin Solveig. Suprisingly, many of of those songs have become top ten hits for Solveig and have turned Lee Fields into a bonafide celebrity in France and other parts of Europe. Yet, outside of a rabid cult following, his story remained untold in America.
When Truth & Soul rose from Soul Fire’s ashes in 2004, the first mission of label owners/producers Jeff Silverman and Leon Michels, was to record a sweet soul record that would be modeled after the near perfect formula that bands like The Moments, The Delfonics, and The Stylistics had created. But with a decidedly modern bent. The two producer/songwriters were perfect for the job, having dedicated their talents to the likes of Adele, Iggy Pop, Amy Winehouse alongside Just Blaze, Ghostface Killah and Jay Z
Turning their attention to Lee Fields, the duo wanted an album full of music that was both tough as nails and sweet as honey. They wanted ballads laced with lush strings and smooth vocal harmonies layered over a hard-hitting rhythm section. Michels and Silverman enlisted the service of a the group of New York studio musicians that have provided the back drop for records by The Dap Kings, Amy Winehouse, Bronx River Parkway, El Michels Affair and TV on The Radio. Those musicians include Leon Michels, Homer Steinweiss, Quincy Bright, Nick Movshon, Thomas Brenneck, Toby Pazner, Aaron Johnson, Dave Guy, Michael Leonhart, and members of legendary doo-wop group, The Del-Larks.
Four years later and Lee Fields & The Expressions have successfully created a unique and personal sound that can hold court with the bands they set out to emulate. However, what they’ve created in the process goes beyond just a carbon copy of a sweet soul music from the 60’s and early 70’s. The formula has remained the same but the style has been adapted for the ears of youngsters whose experiences with soul began with Amy, not Al, Otis and Marvin. Thirty years of retrospection has colored this cross-generational melding of the minds. It sounds odd on paper, but the results are classic: hip hop-reared record collectors come full circle to produce an album of beatuful soul music with one of the progenitors who made it all possible.ABOUT
The Hard French Crew have just closed out our first season and quickly become San Francisco’s favorite daytime soul music party. The idea behind the event is to modernize, takeover, revamp, trick out, revive, and do up the outdoor afternoon dance party experience. This is a party for everyone – where drag queens mingle with lesbians, leather daddy’s soul dance with Cholas, sharps share hot dogs with activists, jocks make out with twinks, brown meets white meets purple meets gay guy meets ladies meets q and everyone leaves excited to come back next month. The party is DJ’d by resident and soul music wizards DJ Carnita and DJ Brown Amy and has featured some of the best soul DJs in SF and beyond including Primo (Oldie’s Night), Dick Vivian (Rooky Ricardo’s Records), DJ Bus Station John (Tubesteak Connection), John Cameron Mitchell (Hedwig & the Angry Inch/Shortbus), DJ Shannon Action Slacks, DJ Lucky (Soul Party!) and more.
Accolades for Hard French include a Best of the Bay award from the San Francisco Bay Guardian, Best of SF Weekly honors from SF Weekly, San Francisco’s favorite event by Asterisk Magazine and Best New Kid on the Block by Gaycities.com. Hard French has been featured in The San Francisco Bay Guardian, the New York Times, SFist.com, SF Weekly, Asterisk Magazine, The Village Voice (NYC), MissionMission, The Stranger (SEA), Butt Magazine Online and more.
Hard French promises a truly unique experience with DJs on the patio, their infamous photo booth, tasty bbq, hard dancing and hard cruising. Hard French hit the road in 2010, throwing successful parties at The East River Bar in Brooklyn, the Augusta House in Toronto, ON and their most ambitious event to date- the First Annual Hard French Winter Ball which drew over 400 attendees to the Historic Brookdale Lodge – a haunted hotel in the Santa Cruz mountains. They also threw the hottest new party at San Francisco Pride 2011, Hard French A San Francisco institution, Top Cat & Miles Ahead have held down residencies in the Bay Area for nearly a decade. A central piece of the city’s jazz and bop community, the band plays host at Cafe International in the Haight on Sunday afternoons. They have appeared at all of the Bay Area’s best jazz festivals including SFJazz, San Jose, Stanford and North Beach Jazz Fest.